Daily Archives: November 26, 2018

Hoaxed: The ‘Illegal Alien Mom with Barefoot Kids’ Photo was a Setup – Another Staged #FakeNews Production — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Joe Hoft

Yesterday’s Headline is today’s hoax. The illegal alien mother ‘fleeing’ from the border wall was all a lie. It was a setup.

After further review, yesterday’s ‘horrific’ picture of a woman with barefoot children running from the US border wall was a hoax. In the background of the picture a group of men are posing for one camera man and another is running towards another camera man. In other areas, people are just standing around. The woman with the children was just a photo-op:

The high resolution picture shows guys in the background posing for a cameraman proving again that liberals are easily fooled:

Gateway Pundit Poll: Should Trump Use Military Force On The Border If Necessary?

 

The post Hoaxed: The ‘Illegal Alien Mom with Barefoot Kids’ Photo was a Setup – Another Staged #FakeNews Production appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

If Patterns Hold, There May Be Terrorists Inside The Border Caravan

Middle Easterners do travel the same routes as Hondurans to the U.S. southern border, and rising numbers of suspected terrorists have been apprehended at the border in recent years.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2018/11/26/recent-patterns-hold-may-indeed-terrorists-inside-border-caravan/

John Roberts Is Wrong. America’s Courts Are Obviously Politicized

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ attempt to defend the independence of the judiciary, in light of President Trump’s comments that courts are politicized, did more harm than good.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2018/11/26/john-roberts-wrong-americas-courts-obviously-politicized/

Trump Threatens To Permanently Close Southern Border If Mexico Doesn’t Deport “Criminal” Migrants | Zero Hedge

“…We will close the border permanently if need be…”

Migrant caravan drama returned to the headlines over the weekend after several violent clashes broke out at the US-Mexico border, prompting US troops to fire tear gas at migrants who tried to rush the border, while one migrant who attacked border agents with stones after crossing into Arizona was taken into custody. After the incoming Mexican government denied reports that it had agreed to hold asylum applicants from Central American while they awaited their asylum hearings, Mexico said it would deport some 500 migrants who tried to rush the US border on Sunday.

Given all that is happening, it’s hardly surprising that President Trump, who just returned from a holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago, escalated his threats to close the US-Mexico border after a series of angry tweets about a 60 Minutes story about his administration’s controversial “child separation” policy where he (correctly) pointed out that the Trump administration’s policy was merely a continuation of policies from the Bush and Obama administrations. Trump said that he tried to keep families together, but that “when you do that, vast numbers of additional people storm the border.”

Trump closed his rant by demanding that Mexico move “stone-cold criminal” migrants back to their home countries “do it by plane, do it by bus, do it any way you want but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A!” Failing this, Trump added “we will close the border permanently if need be” before demanding that Congress “fund the WALL.”

Of course, Trump will have a chance to do just that next month, where he will have the opportunity to threaten a shutdown if Congress doesn’t agree to funding for his border-strengthening initiatives like the wall.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-26/trump-threatens-permanently-close-southern-border-if-mexico-doesnt-deport-criminal

November 26 Rejecting the World’s Passing Pleasures

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24–25).

✧✧✧

The world has little to offer compared to the riches of Christ.

For forty years Moses enjoyed the best of everything Egypt had to offer—formidable wealth, culture, education, and prestige (Acts 7:22). Yet he never forgot God’s promises toward his own people, Israel.

Then, “when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand” (vv. 23–25).

Somehow Moses knew he was to deliver his people from Egyptian oppression. Although it would be another forty years before he was fully prepared for the task, by faith he forsook the pleasures and prestige of Egypt and endured ill-treatment with God’s chosen people.

Humanly speaking, Moses made a costly choice. He seemed to be sacrificing everything for nothing. But the opposite was much more the case since Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the [greater] reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Sometimes obedience to Christ seems very costly, especially when evil people prosper while many who faithfully serve God suffer poverty and affliction. Asaph the psalmist struggled with the same issue: “Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure” (Ps. 73:12–13).

But be assured that the eternal rewards of Christ far outweigh the passing pleasures of sin. The wicked have only judgment and Hell to look forward to; you have glory and Heaven. So always choose obedience, and trust God to guide your choices, just as He did with Moses.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God that the righteous will one day be fully rewarded. ✧ Seek God’s grace to be obedient when you’re faced with difficult choices.

For Further Study: Read Stephen’s account of Moses in Acts 7:20–39.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 343). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

“Morning Joe” Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski Finally Do the Wicked Deed of Marrying Each Other After Divorcing Their Previous Partners – At Least They Didn’t Marry Again in a Church but Both of Them Ought to be Ashamed of Themselves for Committing Adultery on Live TV Every Morning Before the American Public and for Having Representative Elijah Cummings Officiate Their Wedding at the National Archives in D.C. | BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Rep. Elijah Cummings pronounces them husband and wife.
Courtesy of Miller Hawkins.

The Morning Joe co-hosts made it official during an intimate Saturday ceremony at the National Archives, in front of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, officiated by Rep. Elijah Cummings.
— Read on blackchristiannews.com/2018/11/morning-joe-hosts-joe-scarborough-and-mika-brzezinski-finally-do-the-wicked-deed-of-marrying-each-other-after-divorcing-their-previous-partners-at-least-they-didnt-marry-again-in-a-church-but/

Do You Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Some years ago, I spoke with a man whose business was to help people plan for the future. He asked me about my goals, about what I wanted to accomplish in life. As I went through this exercise, I noticed that one thing was conspicuously absent from my goals: there was nothing there about righteousness.

I thought, “What’s wrong with this picture? How could a Christian establish life goals and not have at the top the attainment of righteousness in the sight of God?” Did not our Lord say, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33)? One of the scariest things that Jesus ever said was the warning He gave that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). The Pharisees were devoted to the quest for righteousness, but they ended up in a distorted pursuit of self-righteousness. It can be easy to dismiss the pursuit of righteousness as always ending in an inflated self-righteousness. But this does not eliminate the obligation that Christ gives us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

This comes to the fore in the Beatitudes, where Jesus pronounced a blessing upon people whose goal is righteousness: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). He didn’t say, “Blessed are those whose goal is righteousness, for they shall attain their goal.” Nor did He say, “Blessed are those who have a desire for righteousness, for they will get to their heart’s desire.” Rather, He spoke in everyday terms regarding intense hunger. We are not simply to seek righteousness or have righteousness as a goal; we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Sometimes we see athletes who are so well paid that they tend to rest on their laurels and don’t have a drive to win. Sometimes the critics will look at these superstars and say, “They’re not hungry,” whereas the young player who’s not established and doesn’t get the big bucks is hungry. He’s giving 100 percent of his effort. When someone is passionately committed to his task, we say he’s hungry for it. Jesus was not saying, “Blessed are those who are concerned in a cavalier way that they might, perhaps, grow in righteousness.” He pronounced blessing on the ones who are hungry for it. Blessed are those whose thirst for righteousness is a consuming passion.

What does the New Testament say about Jesus Himself? That zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him (John 2:17). This graphic language means that Jesus’ passion for the affairs of His heavenly Father ate Him up. His food was to do the will of His Father. So Jesus Himself was pictured as a man who was passionately pursuing righteousness, and He achieved what He was pursuing. There’s no way Jesus could have been any more righteous than He was, but He was hungry for it in His human nature.

We’re conditioned to define ourselves in terms of our accomplishments rather than in terms of our character. But Jesus pronounced blessing on a character trait: blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. He affirmed that this would not be a fruitless endeavor, for He promised, “They will be satisfied.” Often, the teachings of Jesus, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount, echo sentiments that are found in Isaiah. In one place, God says this: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive” (Isa. 41:17–19).

This promise that God made, in a dry and parched desert land, was that He would fill those who are hungry and thirsty for Him. He said, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). We feed upon the bread of life, the bread that has come down from heaven, that nourishes the soul and fills the human spirit.

In the final analysis, we want the approval of God—but the applause of men can be deafening, and it can cause us to turn our attention toward achieving everything else apart from what Christ set as the priority for His people: to be righteous. Being righteous is not all that complicated; it means doing what is right. We have to have a passion to do what is right.

This excerpt is taken from How Can I Be Blessed? by R.C. Sproul. Download more free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series here.

Do You Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Monday Briefing Nov. 26, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

The morality of global missions: How should those in the developed world look at hunter-gatherer tribes? 

Motivation vs. methodology: What the modern missions movement has taught us about how to most effectively reach the unreached

Why Christians should pay close attention to major issues raised in new climate change report

Is The Deep State Feeling The Heat?

The worst aspect of the Russia Hoax is that our intelligence agencies, including elements of DoJ and the State Department cooperating with the Clinton campaign, enlisted the intelligence services of foreign powers, first to defeat Trump, and later to attempt what amounts to a coup.

Bad as it may have been, the worst of the Russia Hoax was not the abuse of the FISA electronic surveillance regime for political purposes. Nor is the worst even the patent involvement of our intelligence agencies — and in particular the FBI and CIA — in electoral politics. No, the worst aspect of the Russia Hoax is that our intelligence agencies, including elements of DoJ and the State Department cooperating with the Clinton campaign, 

Shockingly, these later stages of the Russia Hoax have included members of the Legislative Branch who, in the face of clear evidence that the true collusion with foreign powers was that of the Clinton campaign, have worked to delay and to ultimately obstruct Congressional oversight and investigation of the entire Russia Hoax.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/11/is_the_deep_state_feeling_the_heat.html

What about Your FISA Judges, Justice Roberts?

Maybe Justice Roberts should hold his tongue when it comes to the partisanship of judges.

As long as we are on the subject of whether there is such an animal as an “Obama judge,” let us consider the judges who sit on the FISA court and issue warrants allowing surveillance of American citizens who are suspected foreign agents, essentially taking the uncontested word of the government.

Their actions on behalf of one political campaign, colluding with a corrupt DOJ and FBI to target a political opponent, are not supposed to happen in a country based on the rule of law as administered by supposedly impartial judges.  Empowered to safeguard our national security against foreign actors, they essentially served as an extra-constitutional arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign as it colluded with foreign actors to stage a Deep-State coup against a duly elected president, Donald J. Trump?  Aiding and abetting the legacy of Barack Obama seems like something an “Obama judge” would do.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/11/what_about_your_fisa_judges_justice_roberts.html

November 26, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

† 3:16 — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs .…

The “you” Paul has in mind here is plural—“you” as in “all of you in the church of Jesus.” We cannot grow into maturity in Christ Jesus without the encouragement, help, and even the needs of others.[1]


The Word of Christ

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (3:16)

The word of Christ refers to the revelation He brought into the world, which is Scripture. Peace and thankfulness, as well as unity, love, and all the required virtues, flow from a mind controlled by Scripture. Dwell is from enoikeō and means “to live in,” or “to be at home.” Paul calls upon believers to let the Word take up residence and be at home in their lives. Plousiōs (richly) could also be translated “abundantly or extravagantly rich.” The truths of Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and govern every thought, word, and deed. The Word dwells in us when we hear it (Matt. 13:9), handle it (2 Tim. 2:15), hide it (Ps. 119:11), and hold it fast (Phil. 2:16). To do those things, the Christian must read, study, and live the Word. To let the word of Christ richly dwell is identical to being filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18). The Word in the heart and mind is the handle by which the Spirit turns the will. It is clear that these two concepts are identical because the passages that follow each are so similar.

Colossians 3:18–4:1 is a more brief parallel to Ephesians 5:19–6:9. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as the result of letting the Word dwell in one’s life richly. Therefore, the two are the same spiritual reality viewed from two sides. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by His Word. To have the Word dwelling richly is to be controlled by His Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is the author and the power of the Word, the expressions are interchangeable.

Paul then mentions two specific results of the Word of Christ dwelling in the believer, one positive and the other negative: with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another. Teaching is the impartation of positive truth. Admonishing is the negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behavior. Both are the result of a life overflowing with the Word of Christ.

Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (such as Col. 1:15–20 and Phil. 2:6–11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9–10). They express in song what God has done for us. (For more details on this theme, see my commentary, Ephesians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1986].)

Commentators are divided on whether chariti (thankfulness) should be translated “thankfulness” (as in the NIV and NASB) or “grace” (As in the KJV). Perhaps its use here encompasses both ideas: believers sing out of thankfulness for God’s grace. When Paul tells believers to sing in your hearts he does not mean not to sing with the voice. His concern is that the heart agree with the mouth (cf. Amos 5:23). Singing is to be directed to God as praise and worship offered to Him for His pleasure and glory. That it is edifying to believers is a byproduct of its main purpose.[2]


16 The thankfulness to which Paul calls the Colossians was to be enthusiastically expressed in their corporate worship (cf. Lincoln, 648). Paul enjoins the assembly gathered for worship to “let the word of Christ dwell in [or among] [them] richly.” Like “peace of Christ” in v. 15, “word of Christ” is unparalleled in the NT (cf., however, 1 Th 1:8; 4:15: “the word of the Lord”). (Additionally, as with “the peace of Christ,” some later copyists altered “the word of Christ” to read “the word of God” or “the word of the Lord.”) While “the word of Christ” may refer to instruction proceeding from Christ (i.e., Jesus tradition), it more likely speaks of the message pertaining to Christ (i.e., the gospel; cf. 1:5, 29; so O’Brien, 206)—though arguably a wedge should not be driven too firmly between these alternatives (cf. Abbott, 290; Bruce, 157; Houlden, 207; Moule, 125; Dunn, 236). The proclamation of Christ, not the veneration of angels, was to be central in the Colossians’ worship (cf. Lincoln, 648; Dunn, 235–36). “The gospel is to have its gracious and glorious way in their lives” (O’Brien, 207).

The congregation is encouraged to let this word dwell, live, or abide richly in their midst as an operative, transformative force (cf. Harris, 167). How is it that “the word of Christ” is to make its home among the community? The answer appears to be, by means of the assembly’s ministry of teaching, admonishing, and singing. (The Greek syntax of this verse is complex and has occasioned much discussion [and confusion!] among commentators; cf. Moule, 125–26; Harris, 166–70.) Though Epaphras played a pivotal role in founding and instructing the Colossian assembly (1:7; 4:12; cf. Phm 23), he was not the only one who was meant to function in a teaching capacity. Notwithstanding the fact that Paul was an apostle grasped by God to admonish and teach all people in all wisdom (1:28), mutual, thoughtful, tactful instruction and admonition were privileges and responsibilities entrusted to the entire congregation (cf. Garland, 242; Lohse, 150–51).

It is possible that church members were meant to instruct and correct one another by means of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (so NASB; cf. Eph 5:19). However, psalms, hymns, and songs may simply be descriptive of the various forms of congregational singing (so NIV). Even if one cannot say with certainty which reading is most likely on grammatical grounds (cf. Moule, 125; O’Brien, 208–9)—though I favor the NIV’s translation here (so also Dunn, 211, 237)—one may note that a positive, mutually reinforcing link is to exist between the church’s teaching and singing (cf. Bruce, 158; Houlden, 208; Lincoln, 649; Lohse, 151). The songs of the church can be both instructive/cognitive and responsive/emotive (cf. Lincoln, 651).

It is best not to try to differentiate too sharply among psalms (cf. 1 Co 14:26), hymns (cf. Ac 16:25; Heb 2:12), and songs (cf. Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3; so, rightly, Garland, 212; O’Brien, 209; Lohse, 151). From our vantage point, these three terms appear to be more or less synonymous (so also Dunn, 238–39, who nonetheless contends that “some range of songs is presumably in view, unless we assume that the authors are being needlessly tautologous”; cf. Lincoln, 649, who notes, “They are the three most common terms for religious songs in the LXX, where they are used interchangeably”). Regardless of those nuances now lost on us, these songs are depicted as “spiritual.” (Whether or not the adjective pneumatikos, “spiritual,” GK 4461, is meant to modify “psalms,” “hymns,” and “songs,” or merely “songs,” is an open question, though it arguably applies to all three nouns [so also O’Brien, 210; Lincoln, 649; Lohse, 151].) Some of these songs were probably set (cf. 1:15–20 [?]), while others were likely spontaneous and even glossalalic (cf. Dunn, 239). Taken together, these three terms reveal the rich variety of praise in the worship of the Pauline churches in particular, if not of the early church in general. Whatever the precise form and content of these songs, they were to be sung with a thankful or grateful heart toward God. Gratitude should well up within believers for the grace that God has bestowed on them in the Beloved (cf. Lohse, 152).[3]


3:16 / Here is a verse loaded with important truths. Paul has just spoken about the peace of Christ that is to rule in the believers’ hearts (3:15). Now he turns to another aspect of Christ, namely, the word of Christ. This phrase, taken as an objective genitive in Greek, means the words about Christ, that is, the gospel.

The word of Christ is to dwell within the believer and can do so either richly or feebly. Although the gospel certainly is “rich” in meaning, content, and so on, the Greek adverb richly definitely is intended to characterize the manner in which Christ’s message is to inhabit the believer: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

The indwelling word will manifest itself in two ways: First, the Colossians are exhorted to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. This is a pedagogical process (cf. 1:28) in which all members share responsibility. In light of Paul’s ministry as a teacher and Epaphras’ as a transmitter of tradition, this verse should not be taken to imply a deficiency in these church leaders.

The second manifestation of the word of Christ is in worship. Considerable research has gone into analyzing the different components mentioned, so it is not unusual for commentators to suggest that psalms (psalmois) may have their heritage in the Old Testament; hymns (hymnois) could include psalms but may be more Christian songs of praise to God or Christ; spiritual songs (ōdais) may be musical compositions originating from ecstatic utterances under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16).

On the basis of this passage and a similar one in Ephesians 5:19, it is not possible to establish distinctions with any precision, even though there is a certain diversity about the three. It does help one to appreciate both the richness of Christian hymnody even at this early stage of the church’s life and the function of music within the context of worship. When such music is grounded in the word of God (i.e., doctrinal in content), it definitely serves a teaching and instructional function within the body.

Singing is to be expressed in a spirit of gratitude. Music may edify the members of a congregation, but its primary function is to render thanks to God. The word translated gratitude is charis, not the more common eucharistia. charis can also mean “grace,” and with the inclusion of the article (en tē chariti), Paul may be referring to the grace of God. When Christians sing “in the grace,” they sing by virtue of the grace of God which is theirs. (The niv rightly uses God rather than “Lord,” which has weaker manuscript evidence and probably represents an attempt to harmonize it with Eph. 5:19.)[4]


Let the word of Christ dwell in you (verse 16)

As usual in this letter Paul takes every opportunity to stress the centrality and sufficiency of Christ. Elsewhere, in a parallel passage, he can write to the believers about letting the Holy Spirit fill them. In Paul’s teaching there is never any question of Word and Spirit being separately experienced. The coming of the Word of God in the gospel is the coming of the Spirit, and the coming of the Spirit is the coming of the living and abiding Word of God. Therefore, to enjoy the fullness of the Spirit, a Christian must necessarily be filled with the word of Christ.

A Christian community is happy, therefore, if the word of Christ is richly, that is abundantly, available. But it may well be that the visitors looked to other sources by which a ‘word’ from God might come their way (cf. 2:4, 18, 20–22). If so (and how else did they get their authoritative messages?), this must have greatly influenced the teaching they gave, and the type of songs they used for praise: instead of being characterized by the word of Christ, there would be a significant admixture of human doctrines, i.e. of religious traditionalism.

For the apostle, therefore, the word of Christ must control all the ministries of the local church. First, there is the ministry of teaching. It is intriguing, in view of modern interest in lay ministry, that the work of teaching and admonishing, described in 1:28 as Paul’s major function, is here said to be the work of the local congregation, the people (laos) of God in one place. How could it be otherwise? A responsibility so vast must be shared. But it will not be carried out in all wisdom, that is with sufficient balance and relevance (1:9ff.) if the local congregation itself is not firmly under the word of Christ.

Secondly, there is the ministry of praise. Paul likes to pile synonyms together, although words that appear synonymous (e.g. as here, teach and admonish) sometimes carry different emphases. In the case of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs we shall be wise not to attempt a differentiation, for since the time of Jerome the problem has been debated, and is still unsolved! What is at issue here is the content of the young church’s hymns. The history of Christian awakening shows that whenever the word of Christ is recovered, it is received with great joy, a joy that can fully express itself only with songs of praise. What the apostle is concerned to see is that these songs are consistent with the word of Christ, or as we are bound to say nowadays, scriptural. A fair test of this is to be found by whether or not they echo a heartfelt spirit of thankfulness: genuine Christian praise is not primarily a vehicle for the expression of spiritual aspirations and experiences, so much as a celebration of God’s mighty acts in Christ. Lohse has an interesting comment on the normal translation:

This translation cannot account for the definite article which specifies charis as God’s bestowal of grace which gives life to the believers. The phrase en tē chariti reminds the readers of sola gratia (by grace alone) which is the sole basis of existence and creates the realm in which Christian life can exist and develop. This is the reason why God is praised.

Very well. A gospel of grace (1:6) must be echoed by songs of gratitude for grace.[5]


3:16. If believers are to be transformed into the character of Christ, the word of Christ should find a home in our hearts. It should not come and go, show up occasionally, or be something we visit like a vacation spot. As Eugene Peterson translates this phrase, “Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives” (Peterson, 504).

The parallel between Colossians 3:16–4:1 and Ephesians 5:18–6:9 must not be missed. The structure and terminology are almost identical. The Ephesians passage exhorts believers to be filled with the Spirit, whereas the Colossians passage exhorts believers to let the Word of Christ dwell in them. The two concepts must be synonymous. The external results are the same. The internal effect is the same. The believer is to be “under the influence” of the word of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. The reason for the Colossians’ emphasis on Christ is expected in a book so devoted to his centrality and supremacy. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in hearts to God (v. 16). When the word of Christ finds a comfortable home in individual believers and in the new community, there will be teaching (positive instruction), admonishing one another (negative correction), and thankful worship, evidenced by singing and gratitude.[6]


16. Paul has just been saying. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” At first glance a believer might well ask, however, “If I do this am I not building the edifice of my hope and trust upon a rather insecure, subjective foundation?” After further thought, however, he answers, “Not at all, for I have peace when in my inmost being I, by God’s sovereign grace, resolve to live in accordance with the objective word of Christ.” Verses 15 and 16 must therefore not be separated. By obedience to the gospel peace is conveyed to the heart. So Paul continues, Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly. The objective, special revelation that proceeds from (and concerns) Christ—“the Christ-word”—should govern every thought, word, and deed, yes even the hidden drives and motivations of every member, and thus should bear sway among them all, and this richly, “bearing much fruit” (John 15:5). This will happen if believers heed the word (Matt. 13:9), handle it rightly (2 Tim. 2:15), hide it in their hearts (Ps. 119:11), and hold it forth to others as being in truth “the word of life” (Phil. 2:16). Though when the apostle wrote this, “the word of Christ” had not yet been entrusted to the written page in the form and to the extent in which we now have it, this does not cancel the fact that for Paul and for all believers in his day as well as, in broader scope, for us today, “All scripture (is) God-breathed and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, for every good work thoroughly equipped” (see N.T.C. on 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). The logical continuation is: in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another.137

For the explanation of these words see on 1:28, where essentially the same thought is expressed in an almost identical statement. The differences are as follows: (1) in 1:28 the apostle relates what he, Timothy, etc., are doing; here (in Col. 3:16) he admonishes the Colossian believers what they should be doing. In both cases the content is the same: admonishing and teaching. Believers, by virtue of their “office” as believers—let them not forget that they are clothed with that office!—should do what Paul and his associates are doing by virtue of their office, respectively as apostle and apostolic delegates. Each person must do it in accordance with the rights and duties of his particular office. (2) In 1:28 the object is somewhat broader, “every man.” Here (Col. 3:16) the emphasis is rather on mutual teaching and admonition. And (3) in 1:28 the phrase “in all wisdom” is placed last. In the Colossian passage it is placed first, perhaps to underscore the thought conveyed in the immediately preceding adverb “richly,” as if to say, “If the word of Christ is to dwell among you richly, then in all wisdom you should admonish and teach each other.”

There is something else that should also be done if the word of Christ is to dwell among the Colossians richly. It is stated in these words: (and) by means of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs singing to God in a thankful spirit,139 with all your heart.

Paul clearly recognizes the edifying nature of God-glorifying singing. As to the meaning of the terms psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (see also Eph. 5:19) a little investigation quickly shows that it may not be easy to distinguish sharply between these three. It is possible that there is here some overlapping of meanings. Thus, in connection with psalms it is natural to think of the Old Testament Psalter, and, in support of this view, to appeal to Luke 20:42; 24:44; Acts 1:20; 13:33. So far there is no difficulty. However, expositors are by no means agreed that this can also be the meaning of the word psalm in 1 Cor. 14:26 (“When you assemble, each one has a psalm”).

As to hymns, in the New Testament the word hymn is found only in our present passage (Col. 3:16) and in Eph. 5:19. Augustine, in more than one place, states that a hymn has three essentials: it must be sung; it must be praise; it must be to God. According to this definition it would be possible for an Old Testament psalm, sung in praise to God, to be also a hymn. Thus when Jesus and his disciples were about to leave the Upper Room in order to go to the Mount of Olives, they “hymned” (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26). It is held by many that what they hymned was Psalm 115–118. According to Acts 16:25 in the Philippian prison Paul and Silas were hymning to God. Is it not altogether probable that some, if not all, of these hymns were psalms? Cf. also Heb. 2:12. But if Augustine’s definition is correct there are also hymns that do not belong to the Old Testament Psalter; such hymns as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) and the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79). Fragments of other New Testament hymns seem to be embedded in the letters of Paul (Eph. 5:14; Col. 1:15–20; 1 Tim. 3:16, and perhaps others).

The word song or ode (in the sense of poem intended to be sung) occurs not only in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 but also in Rev. 5:9; 14:3, where “the new song” is indicated, and in Rev. 15:3, where the reference is to “the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,” These are not Old Testament Psalms. Moreover, a song or ode is not necessarily a sacred song. In the present case the fact that it is, indeed, sacred is shown by the addition of the adjective spiritual.

All in all, then, it would seem that when here in Col. 3:16 the apostle uses these three terms, apparently distinguishing them at least to some extent, the term psalms has reference, at least mainly, to the Old Testament Psalter; hymns mainly to New Testament songs of praise to God or to Christ; and spiritual songs mainly to any other sacred songs dwelling on themes other than direct praise to God or to Christ.

The point that must not be ignored is this, that these songs must be sung in a thankful spirit. The songs must be poured forth sincerely, rising from within the humbly grateful hearts of believers. It has been said that next to Scripture itself a good Psalter-Hymnal is the richest fountain of edification. Not only are its songs a source of daily nourishment for the church, but they also serve as a very effective vehicle for the outpouring of confession of sin, gratitude, spiritual joy, rapture. Whether sung in the regular worship-service on the Lord’s Day, at a midweek meeting, in social gatherings, in connection with family-worship, at a festive occasion, or privately, they are a tonic for the soul and promote the glory of God. They do this because they fix the interest upon the indwelling word of Christ, and carry the attention away from that worldly cacophony by which people with low moral standards are being emotionally overstimulated.

The passage under discussion has often been used in support of this or that theory with respect to what may or may not be sung in the official worship-service. Perhaps it is correct to say that the appeal is justified if one is satisfied with a few broad, general principles; for example, (1) In our services the psalms should not be neglected. (2) As to hymns, in the stricter sense of songs of praise, “It is probably true that a larger proportion of the religious poems which are used in public praise should be ‘hymns’ in the stricter sense. They should be addressed to God. Too many are subjective, not to say sentimental, and express only personal experiences and aspirations which are sometimes lacking in reality” Charles E. Erdman (op. cit., p. 91).

For the rest, it is well to bear in mind that Paul’s purpose is not to lay down detailed rules and regulations pertaining to ecclesiastical liturgy. He is interested in showing the Colossians and all those to whom or by whom the letter would be read how they may grow in grace, and may manifest rightly the power of the indwelling word. His admonition, therefore, can be applied to every type of Christian gathering, whether on the Sabbath or during the week, whether in church or at home or anywhere else.[7]


16. As the Colossians were exhorted to let the peace of Christ rule their lives (v 15), so now they are admonished to let the Word of Christ (ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ is parallel to ἡ εἰρηνη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, “the peace of Christ”) dwell richly among them. The expression, “the Word of Christ” (ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ), is used here instead of “the Word” (ὁ λόγος, 4:3), “the Word of God” (ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, 1:25) or “the Word of the Lord” (λόγος κυρίου, 1 Thess 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). The change from “of God” or “of the Lord” may have been due to the Colossian situation; certainly the present expression is in keeping with the rest of the letter with its emphasis on the person and work of Christ (von Soden, 64, and Abbott, 290). While the genitive “of Christ” (τοῦ Χριστοῦ) might be subjective indicating that Christ himself is the speaker when his word is proclaimed (cf. Lightfoot, 222, Meyer, 447, Bruce, 283), it is probably objective referring to the message that centers on Christ, that Word of truth or gospel (ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, 1:5; cf. Gal 1:7; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 2:12) which came to the Colossians and took up a firm place in their lives from the time Epaphras first preached it to them. As such it is normative and ought to control their lives.

That Word is to dwell richly in their midst. ἐνοικέω (“live in,” “dwell in,” “indwell”; so BAG, 267) appears only in a metaphorical sense in the New Testament (all six occurrences are in the Pauline corpus). So God himself will dwell among his people (2 Cor 6:16 citing Lev 26:11, 12), and the Holy Spirit dwells in believers (Rom 8:11 [cf. v 9]; 2 Tim 1:14; cf. 1 Cor 3:16). Not only the Word of Christ but also faith (2 Tim 1:5) may be said to dwell among God’s own (contrast Rom 7:17 regarding the indwelling sin). ἐν ὑμῖν has been taken to mean “in your hearts” (so Lightfoot, 222, who understands the statement to refer to “the presence of Christ in the heart as an inward monitor”), “among you” (Masson, 147; cf. Schrage, Einzelgebote, 91) or “in you,” that is, “in your church …, as a whole, being compared to a house, in which the word has the seat of its abiding operation and rule” (Meyer, 448; cf. Abbott, 290). Bruce, 283, claims that Paul would not have wished to be pinned down too firmly to the alternatives of either “within you” (as individual Christians) or “among you” (as a Christian community). He does add, however, that “if one of the two had to be accepted, the collective sense might be preferred in view of the context.” πλουσίως (“richly,” “abundantly”) describes the manner of the Word’s indwelling. Elsewhere in the epistles this adverb is found in statements which describe God’s gracious and rich bestowal of his gifts: at 1 Timothy 6:17 it is used of “God who richly (πλουσίως) furnishes us with everything to enjoy,” in contrast to the “rich in this world”; while at Titus 3:6 the Holy Spirit is “poured out upon us richly (πλουσίως) through Jesus Christ our Savior,” and in 2 Peter 1:11 an “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly (πλουσίως) provided.” Here in Colossians πλουσίως (“richly”) appears within an exhortation: the gospel is to have its gracious and glorious way in their lives. If the double reference of ἐν ὑμῖν (“within you” and “among you”) is in view then this rich indwelling would occur when they came together, listened to the Word of Christ as it was preached and expounded to them (see Schrage, Einzelgebote, 91, Ernst, 229, and Schweizer, 157) and bowed to its authority. By this means Christ’s rule would be exercised in their lives. As the Spirit of God indwells believers (Rom 8:9, 11; 2 Tim 1:14; cf. 1 Cor 3:16) so the “Word of Christ” should reside among them in rich abundance, producing great blessing (cf. Ernst, 229, and Lohse, 150).

ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτούς κτλ. As the word of Christ richly indwells the Colossians, so by means of its operation they will “teach and admonish one another in all wisdom by means of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (this lengthy clause gives a modal definition of the preceding, so Meyer, 448). “Teaching and admonishing” (διδάσκονρες καὶ νουθετοῦντες; some exegetes consider that these dependent participles occur with an imperatival force, so Lightfoot, 222, Lohse, 150, etc; if they are taken as true participles then the nominative plurals following the subject ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, “the word of Christ,” are constructed according to sense, so Turner, Syntax, 230, cf. Meyer, 448, and note the similar instance at 2:2—either way the teaching and admonition in all wisdom arise from the indwelling of the word, cf. Delling, TDNT 8, 498, Ernst, 229, and Dunn, Jesus, 237) were previously mentioned as activities of Paul and his co-workers, for it was by such instruction and admonition that the public proclamation of Christ as Lord was effected (see on 1:28). Here, however, it is the members of the congregation (so most commentators including Behm, TDNT 4, 1022 [cf. Rom 15:14; 1 Thess 5:14], but contrast Schrage, Einzelgebote, 137) who teach and admonish one another (ἑαυτούς, “yourselves,” which does not really differ from ἀλλήλους, “one another,” being reflexive in a reciprocal sense [so Robertson, Grammar, 690, BDF para. 287, Turner, Syntax, 43], binds the two participles together). The phrase “in all wisdom” (ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ) is attached to the following words indicating the manner in which the teaching and admonition are to occur (although Lightfoot, 221, 222, argued that the phrase, on the basis of 1:9; Eph 1:8; 5:18, 19, should be taken with the preceding clause [cf. av, rv], the other alternative is favored by the sense of 1:28, where teaching and admonition occur in all wisdom, and it is balanced by ἐν χάριτι αᾄδοντες, “singing with grace or thankfulness,” so asv, rsv, neb, niv; cf. Bruce, 283, Lohse, 151, Schweizer, 157), that is, in a thoughtful and tactful manner (Bruce, 283; see also Bratcher and Nida, 90).

The motif of wisdom (σοφία) turns up on several occasions in Colossians: so Paul prays that the Colossians might be filled with a knowledge of God’s will, and the perception of that will consists in wisdom (ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ) and understanding of every sort, on the spiritual level (1:9). At chapter 1:28 the apostolic ministry of admonition and teaching is effected “in all wisdom” (ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ). In Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge have been stored up (2:3), while by contrast the taboos which the false teachers propounded were merely human inventions having only the appearance of wisdom (2:23, λόγον … σοφίας). At chapter 4:5 “wisdom” has to do with practical and realistic behavior in Christians’ dealings with those outside the congregation. Here at chapter 3:16 it is possible that the phrase “in all wisdom” (ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ), as at chapter 1:28, stands in contrast to the heretics’ claim to wisdom. At the same time this true wisdom, for which Paul had previously prayed, shows itself in a practical way: the teaching and admonition are given in a thoughtful and tactful manner.

ψαλμοῖς, ὕμνοις, ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς. This mutual instruction and warning are to take place “by means of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” The asv punctuates the sentence along these lines (cf. also the av and rv) although the rsv renders the Greek “and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (cf. niv) so linking these three nouns with the following participle ᾄδοντες (“singing”). It is not patently clear as to which is the correct interpretation and commentators are as divided on the point as the versions (so, for example, Delling, TDNT 8, 498, Lohse, 136, 151, Schweizer, 153, and Barrels, NIDNTT 3, 675, link the noun with the following participles, while Meyer, 448, Lightfoot, 222, Percy, Probleme, 395, and Bruce, 283, 284, opt for the other alternative). Our preference for joining “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” with “teaching and admonishing one another” is for the following reasons: (a) the two participial clauses ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες … (“in all wisdom teaching …”) and ἐν (τῇ) χάριτι ᾄδοντες … (“with thanksgiving [or grace] singing …”) are symmetrically balanced with their prepositional phrases (both commencing with ἐν, “in”) at the head of each clause and the participles immediately following (cf. Meyer, 448). By contrast the other alternative with ψαλμοῖς κτλ. being attached to the following involves an overweighting of the final participial clause (a criticism noted by Bruce, 284). (b) The rsv rendering necessitates the insertion of “and” before “singing” (ᾄδοντες, cf. niv) but this does not appear in the original (cf. Schweizer, 157, against Delling, TDNT 8, 498). (c) The parallel passage in Ephesians 5:19 (which interestingly enough the rsv renders as “addressing [λαλοῦντες)] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart”) gives the same general sense as our interpretation. (d) The objection that mutual teaching and admonition would not take place in such psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is not valid. If the apostle had in mind antiphonal praise or solo singing for mutual edification in church meetings (Bruce, 284) then mutual instruction and exhortation could well have been possible. Further, recent study of NT hymnody (note the bibliography to 1:15–20 and see also R. P. Martin, “Approaches to New Testament Exegesis,” New Testament Interpretation. Essays on Principles and Methods, ed. I. H. Marshall [Exeter: Paternoster, 1977] 235–41 American edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977) has shown that within early Christian hymns both didactic and hortatory elements featured.

It is not possible to distinguish sharply between each of the three terms “psalms,” “hymns” and “songs” (so most recent writers, cf. Schlier, TDNT 1, 164, and note Lohse’s treatment, 151; against Lightfoot, 222, 223). ψαλμός (“song of praise,” “psalm,” BAG, 891; cf. Delling, TDNT 8, 489–503, and Bartels, NIDNTT 3, 668–76) is employed by Luke of the OT psalms (Luke 20:42; 24:44; Acts 1:20; 13:33) though it came to be used more generally of a song of praise (1 Cor 14:26; Eph 5:19) of which the OT psalms were probably regarded as spiritual prototypes (on the basis of the original meaning of ψάλλω to “pluck [hair],” “twang” a bow-string, and then “pluck” a harp or any other stringed instrument, some have thought that ψαλμός inevitably meant a song sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument; but this restriction is unnecessary, cf. Bruce, 284, and Delling, TDNT 8, 499). At 1 Corinthians 14:26 ψαλμός may be a newly coined “song of praise” prompted by the Spirit and sung with thankful rejoicing by a member of the congregation. Bartels (NIDNTT 3, 671, 672) suggests that such songs of praise “will include free compositions as well as repeated liturgical fragments …, and also new Christian songs (which may well have been modelled on the Psalms of the OT and of later Judaism …), such as we know from the wording of the various songs of Rev.” ὕμνος, a general term in Biblical literature, denotes any “festive hymn of praise” (LXX Isa 42:10; 1 Macc 13:51; cf. Acts 16:25; Heb 2:12) though in its two NT occurrences it refers to an expression of praise to God or Christ (here and Eph 5:19). ᾠδή (“song,” BAG, 895) is used in the NT of the song in which God’s acts are praised and glorified (cf. Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3). Although firm distinctions cannot be drawn between the terms nor can an exact classification of NT hymns be made on the basis of the different words (so Delling, TDNT 8, 499, and Worship in the New Testament. Tr P. Scott [London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1962] 86, 87, and Martin, NCB, 116) taken together these three words “psalms,” “hymns” and “songs” describe “the full range of singing which the Spirit prompts” (Lohse, 151; while the adjective πνευματικαῖς “prompted by the Spirit, consistent with Greek usage, agrees grammatically with the last term ᾠδαῖς, “songs,” it refers to all three nouns). As the word of Christ indwells the members of the community and controls them so they teach and admonish one another in Spirit-inspired psalms, hymns and songs (whatever the precise musical form is, see W. S. Smith, Musical Aspects of the New Testament [Amsterdam: Have, 1962]).

ἐν [τῇ] χάριτι ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ. These words may specify another result of the rich indwelling of the word of Christ (Meyer, 450, prefers this interpretation in which the clause is taken as co-ordinate with the preceding), or they may denote the attitude or disposition which is to accompany the previously mentioned instruction and admonition, that is, as the Colossians teach one another in psalms, hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, so they are to sing thankfully to God with their whole being (on this view the participial clause ἐν [τῇ] χάριτι ᾄδοντες, “singing gratefully,” is subordinate to the preceding; note the discussions of von Soden, 64 and Abbott, 292). Although it is difficult to be certain, our preference is for the latter since it links the singing with the teaching through song. If the participial clauses had been co-ordinated one might have expected a καί, “and,” to have been inserted. From the context it is clear that both the instruction and the disposition which should accompany it arise from the rich indwelling of the Word. The expression ἐν τῆ χάριτι could mean “gratefully” (i.e. with thanksgiving), “by the grace (of God)” or “in the (realm of God’s) grace,” (cf. Moule, 125, 126), and the presence or absence of the article Τῇ (“the”), about which the manuscripts are divided, does not finally settle the issue (so Moule, 125, 126, and RevExp 70 [1973] 493; against Lohse, 152, who contends that the definite article specifies χάρις as “God’s bestowal of grace which gives life to the believers. The phrase ἐν [χάριτι] reminds the readers of sola gratia (by grace alone) which is the sole basis of existence and creates the realm in which the Christian life can exist and develop.” cf. Dibelius-Greeven, 45, and Schmauch, 82). Each of these renderings falls within the range of meanings χάρις (“grace”; cf. BAG, 877, 878, and Schweizer, 158) and perhaps one ought not to distinguish between them too sharply. However, since the note of thanksgiving is an important theme in the section, appearing at verses 15 and 17, it is just possible that thankfulness, our proper response to God’s grace, is in view once again. ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν does not specify an inward disposition as though the apostle is speaking of silent worship in contrast to “with your voices.” As in verse 15 καρδία (“heart”) is employed to refer to the whole of one’s being. “Man should not only praise God with his lips. The entire man should be filled with songs of praise” (Lohse, 151).[8]


16. Let the word of Christ dwell. He would have the doctrine of the gospel be familiarly known by them. Hence we may infer by what spirit those are actuated in the present day, who cruelly interdict the Christian people from making use of it, and furiously vociferate, that no pestilence is more to be dreaded, than that the reading of the Scriptures should be thrown open to the common people. For, unquestionably, Paul here addresses men and women of all ranks; nor would he simply have them take a slight taste merely of the word of Christ, but exhorts that it should dwell in them; that is, that it should have a settled abode, and that largely, that they may make it their aim to advance and in crease more and more every day. As, however, the desire of learning is extravagant on the part of many, while they pervert the word of the Lord for their own ambition, or for vain curiosity, or in some way corrupt it, he on this account adds, in all wisdom—that, being instructed by it, we may be wise as we ought to be.

Farther, he gives a short definition of this wisdom—that the Colossians teach one another. Teaching is taken here to mean profitable instruction, which tends to edification, as in Romans 12:7—He that teacheth, on teaching; also in Timothy—“All Scripture is profitable for teaching.” (2 Tim. 3:16.) This is the true use of Christ’s word. As, however, doctrine is sometimes in itself cold, and, as one says, when it is simply shewn what is right, virtue is praised2 and left to starve, he adds at the same time admonition, which is, as it were, a confirmation of doctrine and incitement to it. Nor does he mean that the word of Christ ought to be of benefit merely to individuals, that they may teach themselves, but he requires mutual teaching and admonition.

Psalms, hymns. He does not restrict the word of Christ to these particular departments, but rather intimates that all our communications should be adapted to edification, that even those which tend to hilarity may have no empty savour. “Leave to unbelievers that foolish delight which they take from ludicrous and frivolous jests and witticisms; and let your communications, not merely those that are grave, but those also that are joyful and exhilarating, contain something profitable. In place of their obscene, or at least barely modest and decent songs, it becomes you to make use of hymns and songs that sound forth God’s praise.” Farther, under these three terms he includes all kinds of songs. They are commonly distinguished in this way—that a psalm is that, in the singing of which some musical instrument besides the tongue is made use of: a hymn is properly a song of praise, whether it be sung simply with the voice or otherwise; while an ode contains not merely praises, but exhortations and other matters. He would have the songs of Christians, however, to be spiritual, not made up of frivolities and worthless trifles. For this has a connection with his argument.

The clause, in grace, Chrysostom explains in different ways. I, however, take it simply, as also afterwards, in chapter 4:6, where he says, “Let your speech be seasoned with salt, in grace,” that is, by way of a dexterity that may be agreeable, and may please the hearers by its profitableness, so that it may be opposed to buffoonery and similar trifles.

Singing in your hearts. This relates to disposition; for as we ought to stir up others, so we ought also to sing from the heart, that there may not be merely an external sound with the mouth. At the same time, we must not understand it as though he would have every one sing inwardly to himself, but he would have both conjoined, provided the heart goes before the tongue.[9]


Ver. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.—“The word of Christ” is the word which He has spoken and caused to be proclaimed (1 Thess. 1:8; 4:15; 2 Thess. 3:1), and which communicates the inward peace, directing and leading to right conduct toward the brethren: “the word through which ye were called” (Bengel); elsewhere called “the word of God” (1:25; 1 Cor. 14:36; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2) from its highest cause, “of truth” (Eph. 1:5, 13) from its purport, “of life” (Phil. 2:16) from its effect.But it must have a permanent locality, “as in a temple” (Bengel): let it dwell “among you,” as the context demands. It is not=“in your hearts.” (ver. 15) “in you” (Theodoret, Beza and others). [Eadie: “within you;” Meyer, Alford : in you as a church, which seems to be Braune’s view. Preferable on the whole, and suggestive of the truth, that want of general diffusion of the word of Christ among the people “richly,” much prevents their obeying the following precept.—R.] “Richly” relates to substance, hence, not used in a stunted, abbreviated eclectic fashion. [“Not with a scanty foothold, but with a large and liberal occupancy” (Eadie).—R.] It does not refer to frequency of use, or to the members of the Church=among many (Schenkel).

In all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.—[“In all wisdom” is joined with what follows. The construction is thus rendered more harmonious; the preceding clause has its emphatic adverb last, and the two qualifying participial clauses each begin with an adverbial phrase of manner. Eadie, following the pointing of Tischendorf, joins “psalms,” etc., with the second clause, but this destroys the correspondence, while the objection he urges, in regard to psalms and hymns as the material of instruction, is not in keeping with his own quotation from Basil’s encomium on the Psalms—R.] The participles, which are to be joined with “you” in the nominative, just as in Eph. 4:1–3 (Winer’s Gram. p. 532), refer to the application and use of the word present among them, describe the manner in which the word dwells among them. This explains “speaking to yourselves” (Eph. 5:19). The first verb indicates the intellectual, the other the moral reference. To both belong the definition of manner “in all wisdom” (comp. 1:28), which is placed first emphatically, and the asyndetic datives which define the means to be used [or “the vehicle in which” the teaching and admonishing was communicated (Meyer).—R.]. These means act the more instructively and effectively, the more familiar one is with them, for the hymn grows out of the word of God and of Christ, and these grow into such songs, as the Bible, the Psalter and Church history attest. Tertullian : Post aquam mannalem et lumina, ut quisque de scripturis sacris vel proprio ingenio potest, provocatur in medium canere. Comp. Eph. 5:19. The reference is to public worship, to the use of the word of Christ and singing at the agapæ and in the family circle; it should not be limited to the latter (Meyer).

In grace singing in your hearts to God.—[Braune adopts the reading ἐν χάριτι, and therefore renders “in gratitude” [Dankbarkeit), but with Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth, it is better to retain the well supported article: τῇ χάριτι then refers to Divine grace, the element to which the singing was to be circumscribed,—that which should accompany it.—R.] The clause corresponds in its structure with the foregoing; “in all wisdom,”—“in grace,” the participles, then the closer definition; they are coördinate therefore. It is altogether improper to join both with “be ye thankful,” making “let the word. richly” parenthetical, or to connect “in psalms,” etc., with this clause (Schenkel), on the ground that singing instruction is inconceivable, or to join ἐν χάριτι with πνευματικαῖς (Luther: spiritual, lovely songs). Since “singing” on account of “in your hearts” (see ver. 15) must be referred to something internal, and “to God” indicates its direction, “in grace” must be a closer definition of the singing; “in gratitude,” as 1 Cor. 10:30. The meaning of χάρις is like gratia. It cannot mean “in gracefulness” (4:6; Eph. 4:29; Erasmus, Schenkel), nor in grace, nor with the article: in the grace impelling thereto (Chrysostom, Meyer). [If the article be retained, this is undoubtedly the meaning; not only because usus loquendi favors such a view, but because the other meaning: “thankfully” would be a flat and unmeaning anticipation of “giving thanks” below (Alford).—R.] The opinion that the phrase “in your hearts” refers to the existing abuse of singing with the mouth (Theofhylact) is not justified, since the reading is not τῇκαρδιᾴ, and the tone which accompanied instruction is here noted. [Yet the former clause seems to refer to singing with the mouth, and this to that “in the silence of the heart” (Meyer).—R.][10]


The Word of Christ (Col. 3:16)

This means, of course, the Word of God. The false teachers came to Colossae with man-made traditions, religious rules, and human philosophies. They tried to harmonize God’s Word with their teachings, but they could not succeed. God’s Word always magnifies Jesus Christ.

It was not the word of false teachers that brought salvation to the Colossians; it was the Word of the truth of the Gospel (Col. 1:5). This same Word gives us life and sustains and strengthens us (1 Peter 1:22–2:3).

The Word will transform our lives if we will but permit it to “dwell” in us richly. The word dwell means “to feel at home.” If we have experienced the grace and the peace of Christ, then the Word of Christ will feel at home in our hearts. We will discover how rich the Word is with spiritual treasures that give value to our lives.

However, we must not think that Paul wrote this only to individual Christians; for he directed it to the entire church body. “Let the Word of Christ dwell among you” is a possible translation. As it dwells richly in each member of the church, it will dwell richly in the church fellowship.

There is a danger today, as there was in Paul’s day, that local churches minimize the Word of God. There seems to be a lack of simple Bible teaching in Sunday School classes and pulpits. Far more interest is shown in movies, musical performances, and various entertainments than in God’s Word. Many saved people cannot honestly say that God’s Word dwells in their hearts richly because they do not take time to read, study, and memorize it.

There is (according to Paul) a definite relationship between our knowledge of the Bible and our expression of worship in song. One way we teach and encourage ourselves and others is through the singing of the Word of God. But if we do not know the Bible and understand it, we cannot honestly sing it from our hearts.

Perhaps this “poverty of Scripture” in our churches is one cause of the abundance of unbiblical songs that we have today. A singer has no more right to sing a lie than a preacher has to preach a lie. The great songs of the faith were, for the most part, written by believers who knew the doctrines of the Word of God. Many so-called “Christian songs” today are written by people with little or no knowledge of the Word of God. It is a dangerous thing to separate the praise of God from the Word of God.

Psalms were, of course, the songs taken from the Old Testament. For centuries, the churches in the English-speaking world sang only metrical versions of the Psalms. I am glad to see today a return to the singing of Scripture, especially the Psalms. Hymns were songs of praise to God written by believers but not taken from the Psalms. The church today has a rich heritage of hymnody which, I fear, is being neglected. Spiritual songs were expressions of Bible truth other than in psalms and hymns. When we sing a hymn, we address the Lord; when we sing a spiritual song, we address each other.

Paul described a local church worship service (1 Cor. 14:26; Col. 3:16). Note that the believer sings to himself as well as to the other believers and to the Lord. Our singing must be from our hearts and not just our lips. But if the Word of God is not in our hearts, we cannot sing from our hearts. This shows how important it is to know the Word of God, for it enriches our public and private worship of God.

Our singing must be with grace. This does not mean “singing in a gracious way,” but singing because we have God’s grace in our hearts. It takes grace to sing when we are in pain, or when circumstances seem to be against us. It certainly took grace for Paul and Silas to sing in that Philippian prison (Acts 16:22–25). Our singing must not be a display of fleshly talent; it must be a demonstration of the grace of God in our hearts.

Someone has said that a successful Christian life involves attention to three books: God’s Book, the Bible; the pocketbook; and the hymn book. I agree. I often use a hymnal in my devotional time, to help express my praise to God. As a believer grows in his knowledge of the Word, he will want to grow in his expression of praise. He will learn to appreciate the great hymns of the church, the Gospel songs, and the spiritual songs that teach spiritual truths. To sing only the elementary songs of the faith is to rob himself of spiritual enrichment.

Before we leave this section, we should notice an important parallel with Ephesians 5:18–6:9. In his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul emphasized being filled with the Spirit; in his Letter to the Colossians, he emphasized being filled with the Word. But the evidences of this spiritual fullness are the same! How can we tell if a believer is filled with the Spirit? He is joyful, thankful, and submissive (Eph. 5:19–21); all of this shows up in his relationships in the home and on the job (Eph. 5:22–6:9). How can we tell if a believer is filled with the Word of God? He is joyful, thankful, and submissive (Col. 3:16–4:1).[11]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Col 3:16). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 159–160). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 333–334). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 81–82). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lucas, R. C. (1980). Fullness & freedom: the message of Colossians & Philemon (pp. 154–155). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 331–332). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 160–163). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] O’Brien, P. T. (1998). Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 44, pp. 206–210). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[9] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (pp. 216–218). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Braune, K., & Riddle, M. B. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Colossians (pp. 70–71). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[11] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 139–140). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Core Christianity | How Suffering Reveals Your True Self

Trust Issues

Here’s what happens in times of suffering. When the thing you have been trusting (whether you knew it or not) is laid to waste, you don’t suffer just the loss of that thing; you also suffer the loss of the identity and security that it provided. This may not make sense to you if right now you are going through something that you wouldn’t have planned for yourself, but the weakness that is now a part of my regular life has been a huge instrument of God’s grace (see 2 Cor. 12:9.) It has done two things for me. First, it has exposed an idol of self I did not know was there. Pride in my physical health and my ability to produce made me take credit for what I couldn’t have produced on my own. God created and controls my physical body, and God has given me the gifts that I employ every day. Physical health and productivity should produce deeper gratitude and worship, not self-reliance and pride in productivity. I am thankful for what my weakness has exposed and for being freed by grace from having to prove any longer that I am what I think I am.

But there’s a second thing that has been wonderful to understand. Perhaps we curse physical weakness because we are uncomfortable with placing our trust in God. Let me explain. Weakness simply demonstrates what has been true all along: we are completely dependent on God for life and breath and everything else. Weakness was not the end for me, but a new beginning, because weakness provides the context in which true strength is found. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that he’ll boast in his weakness. It sounds weird and crazy when you first read it, but it’s not. He has come to know that God’s “power is made perfect” in his weakness. You see, weakness is not what you and I should be afraid of. We should fear our delusion of strength. Strong people tend not to reach out for help, because they think they don’t need it. When you have been proven weak, you tap into the endless resources of divine power that are yours in Christ. In my weakness, I have known a strength that I never knew before.

When We Feel Entitled

One thing that shaped the way I suffered physically was unrealistic expectations. Suffering shouldn’t surprise us, but it almost always does, and it surely surprised me. I did go into my sickness with my theology in the right place. I did believe that I lived in a groaning world crying out for redemption, but it was battling with something else inside me. There was this expectation that I would always be as I had been, that is, that I would always be strong and healthy. There was little room in my life, family, and ministry plans for weakness within or trouble without. In fact, there was no room for any disruption at all. So much of the way I thought about myself and planned was based on the unrealistic expectation that I would continue to escape the regular disruption of one’s life and plans that happens in a world that doesn’t operate as God designed it to operate.

I wasn’t singled out; God hadn’t forgotten me or turned his back. I wasn’t being punished for my choices, and I wasn’t receiving the expected consequences for poor decisions. My story is about the regular things that happen to us all because we live in a world that has been dramatically damaged by sin. In this world sickness and disease live, and our bodies break down or don’t function properly. In this world pain, sometimes chronic and sometimes acute, assaults us and makes life nearly unlivable. We live in a broken world where people die, food decays, wars rage, governments are corrupt, people take what isn’t theirs and inflict violence on one another, spouses act hatefully toward each other, children are abused instead of protected, people slowly die of starvation or die suddenly from disease, sexual and gender confusion lives, drugs addict and destroy, gossip destroys reputations, lust and greed control hearts, bitterness grows like a cancer, and the list could go on and on.

You Will Have Trouble

The Bible doesn’t pull any punches. At every turn, it informs and warns us about the nature of the world, which is the address where we all live. Whether it’s a dramatic narrative of life, or a doctrine that informs, or a wisdom principle about how to live well, Scripture works to prepare us, not so we would live in fear, but so we will be ready for the things we will all face. God gives us everything we need so that we will live with realistic expectations and so moments of difficulty will not be full of shock, fear, and panic, but experienced with faith, calm, and confident choices.

Although I had the right theology in place, somehow, at street level, my expectations were unrealistic, and unrealistic expectations always make suffering harder. My point is that I am a living example of the truth that you and I never suffer just the thing that we’re suffering, but we also suffer the way that we’re suffering it. Each of us brings to our suffering things that shape the way that we suffer. We all suffer, but we don’t suffer the same way, because our suffering is shaped by what we carry into the difficulties that come our way.

What Will Shape Your Suffering?

Here’s what is so important to understand: your suffering is more powerfully shaped by what’s in your heart than by what’s in your body or in the world around you. Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. My suffering was real, the dysfunction in my body was real, the damage to my kidneys is real, the pain I went through was horribly real, and the weakness that is now my normal life is real. But the way that I experienced all those harsh realities was shaped by the thoughts, desires, dreams, expectations, cravings, fears, and assumptions of my heart. The same is true for you. Your responses to the situations in your life, whether physical, relational, or circumstantial, are always more determined by what is inside you (your heart) than by the things you are facing. This is why people have dramatically different responses to the same situations of difficulty. This is why the writer of Proverbs says:

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:23) 

Like a stream, your attitudes, choices, reactions, decisions, and responses to whatever you are facing flow out of your heart. The heart is the center of your personhood. The heart is your causal core, as dry soil soaks in the liquid of a stream. Suffering draws out the true thoughts, attitudes, assumptions, and desires of your heart.

It really is true that we never come empty-handed to any experience. And we surely always drag something into the suffering that enters our door. What about you? What are you carrying around that has the power to cause you to trouble your own trouble? What has the power to allow you to forget that no matter what painful thing you’re enduring, as God’s child it’s impossible for you to endure it all by yourself? The One who created this world and rules it with wisdom, righteousness, and love is in you, with you, and for you, and nothing has the power to separate you from his love.

This article is adapted from Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul David Tripp. This content originally published here. Used by permission Crossway.
— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/964

Russia Opens Fire On Ukrainian War Ships, Captures 3 Vessels Off The Coast Of Crimea As President Poroshenko Says This Is ‘War’ • Now The End Begins

Russia has opened fire on Ukrainian ships and captured three vessels in a major escalation of tensions off the coast of Crimea. Three sailors have been wounded after the Ukrainian navy said two artillery boats were hit by the strikes in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet, and is going to ask his parliament for a formal declaration of war. Ukraine is also asking for an emergency session of the United Nations Security council.

Vladimir Putin has been taunting Ukraine for quite some time now, but today’s act of aggression is fairly intense even by Russia’s standards. Putin has struck first and is daring Ukraine to do something about it. We will be watching this story closely as it develops.

Russia fires at Ukrainian ships and captures three vessels off Crimea

FROM SKY NEWS: Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it used weapons after the Ukrainian ships ignored demands to stop and that it impounded three vessels which had illegally crossed the border.

The three injured sailors are receiving medical treatment and their lives are not in danger, the FSB said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK said Russian special forces had captured two armoured artillery boats and a tugboat in an “act of aggression”.

“Today’s dangerous events in the Azov Sea testify that a new front of Russian aggression is open,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa said.

“Ukraine is calling now for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.”

The FSB claimed it had “irrefutable evidence that Kiev prepared and orchestrated provocations… in the Black Sea”.

“These materials will soon be made public,” it added.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukraine accused a Russian coast guard vessel, named the Don, of ramming one of its tugboats, damaging its engine, hull and side railing.

Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs posted footage on Twitter purportedly showing the incident. READ MORE

— Read on www.nowtheendbegins.com/russia-opens-fire-on-ukrainian-war-ships-captures-3-vessels-off-the-coast-of-crimea-war/

Brannon Howse: November 20, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

Guest: Dr. Andy Woods. Topic: Brannon plays a shocking audio clip in which Gospel Coalition council member Alistair Begg twists the scripture to declare that Joseph storing up grain in the seven years of plenty for the seven years of famine is an example of the welfare state being promoted and encouraged in the Bible. Dr. Woods explains the real meaning of the texts and how Alistair Begg is promoting socialism just as Brannon warns about in his book Marxianity. Perhaps more people will now realize why Brannon calls the organization Begg works with the Cultural Marxist, Gospel Coalition.

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-november-20-2018

Hundreds Of Violent Migrants Illegally Storm The US Port of Entry, Attack Guards With Projectiles As Customs Shuts The Whole Border Down • Now The End Begins

American authorities used tear gas on hundreds of migrants who tried to enter the United States illegally Sunday, prompting officials to shut down operations at the border crossing between this city and San Diego, one of the busiest in the world.

The caravan of migrants passed any number of other countries to get to the United States border with Mexico. And in true illegal immigrant fashion, over 1,000 of them rushed the border today, demanding entry, whilst hurling projectiles at border guards that made contact.

They were violent, they were aggressive, they put their own children at risk of serious harm, in short they were exactly they type of people that President Trump warned us that they were. It took tear gas to repel their illegal rush to cross the border.

Today, they can no longer simply be called migrants. No, today they graduated to the status of ‘enemy combatants’.

San Diego border crossing shut down after migrants try entering U.S.

FROM NBC NEWS: U.S. Customs and Border Protection suspended all vehicles and pedestrians from passing through the San Ysidro Port of Entry at 11:30 a.m. after the migrants tried to cross east and west of the inspection station. the agency said in a statement.

Some migrants said they tried crossing only after being denied access to the port of entry where they could claim asylum. The crossing was reopened to pedestrians shortly before 4 p.m. local time, the agency said.

Customs and Border Protection tweeted that it used tear gas after several migrants threw projectiles at border agents, striking them.

“The situation is evolving and a statement is forthcoming,” the agency said.

The shutdown came after hundreds of migrants — many whom are fleeing violence in Central America — assembled Sunday morning on the Mexican side of the border. American military helicopters buzzed overhead as hundreds of Mexican federal police officers blocked the migrants from entering San Ysidro.

“DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Sunday in a statement. READ MORE

Mexico to immediately deport 500 migrants who ‘violently and illegally’ tried to cross US border

FROM THE UK INDEPENDENT: Mexico has said it will immediately deport up to 500 migrants from Central America who “violently and illegally” sought to cross the US border – pushing past Mexican people and causing US agents to fire tear gas to disperse them.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency suspended all crossings at the San Diego-Tijuana entry point, after hundreds of migrants stormed their way through a blockade of Mexican police and a small number sought to open a space in a roll of razor wire.

With the Mexican police overwhelmed, US agents dispersed the migrants by firing or throwing tear gas. Images taken at the location showed clouds of tear gas hanging in the air, and people moving away from the border. “As the demonstrations on the Mexican side reached the border area, some members of the demonstration split off to head towards multiple locations along the border,” the CBP said in a statement. READ MORE

Migrant caravan: Hundreds rush border, tear gas fired

Hundreds of migrants attempt to breach the US-Mexico border fence, but are stopped by US border officers who begin firing tear gas.

— Read on www.nowtheendbegins.com/migrants-illegally-rush-us-border-attack-guards-projectiles-customs-shuts-down-mexico/

Brannon Howse: November 21, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

Guest: Shahram Hadian. Topic: Brannon explains that WVW Broadcast Network received the worst hack since it was established. Brannon’s computer technicians believe the hack came from within an Islamist or Marxist nation and that the hacker went right for the file containing the new movie Sabotage. So in addition to trying to stop WVW from hosting conferences now the Islamists and/or Marxists are trying to sabotage the movie Sabotage. Brannon explains why broadcast networks and movie producers will increasingly have to use multiple back ups, platforms and even maintain old-school formats such as DVDs and printed books so that hackers and big tech companies cannot shut down online movies, ebooks, radio shows & television programs. Topic: Shahram gives a review of the movie Sabotage. Topic: Shahram explains why his upcoming speaking engagement in Minnesota may be his last trip for awhile due to the new state Attorney General Keith Ellison.    

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-november-21-2018

Is God Ever Unjust? — Grace to You Blog

Have you ever considered the stark contrast between Judas Iscariot and the thief on the cross? One was a close disciple of Jesus Christ and gave three years of his life to the best, most intensive religious instruction available anywhere. But he lost his soul forever. The other was a hardened, lifelong criminal who was still mocking everything holy while being put to death for his crimes. But he went straight to paradise forever.

The difference in the two men could hardly be more pronounced—nor could the endings to their respective life stories be more surprising. Judas was a disciple in Christ’s closest circle of twelve. He preached, evangelized, ministered, and was even given power “over all the demons and to heal diseases” (Luke 9:1). He seemed like a model disciple. When Jesus predicted that one of the twelve would betray Him, no one pointed the finger of suspicion at Judas. He was so thoroughly trusted by the other disciples that they had made him their treasurer (John 13:29). They evidently saw nothing in his character or attitude that seemed questionable, much less diabolical. But he betrayed Christ, ended his own miserable life by suicide, and entered into eternal damnation laden with horrific guilt. Christ’s words about him in Mark 14:21 are chilling: “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

The thief on the cross, on the other hand, was a career criminal—a serious enough villain that he had been sentenced to die by the slowest, most painful form of capital punishment known to man. He’s called a robber in Matthew 27:38—the Greek word there speaks of a brigand or a highwayman. He was crucified with a partner—both had been slated to be executed along with Barabbas, an insurrectionist and killer (Luke 23:18–19). All of that indicates that the thief on the cross was part of a gang of cutthroat ruffians who stole by violence and lived by no law but their own passions. He was clearly vicious, mean-spirited, and aggressive because in the early hours of the crucifixion, both he and his cohort in crime were taunting and reviling Jesus along with the mocking crowd (Matthew 27:44).

But as that thief watched Jesus die silently—“oppressed . . . afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7)—the hardened criminal had a remarkable last-minute change of heart. Literally in the dying moments of his wretched earthly life, he confessed his sin (Luke 23:41), uttered a simple prayer: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42)—and was ushered that very day into paradise (Luke 23:43), clothed in perfect righteousness, all his guilt borne and paid for in full by Christ.

Apparent Injustice

Those who think heaven is a reward for doing good might protest that this was throwing justice out the window. The thief had done nothing whatsoever to merit heaven. If it’s possible to forgive such a man so completely in the dying moments of a wretched life filled with gross sin, wouldn’t it also be proper for Judas’s one act of treachery to be canceled (or mitigated) on the basis of whatever good works he had done while following Christ for three years? People do occasionally raise questions like that. The Internet is dotted with comments and articles suggesting Judas was dealt with unfairly or judged too harshly.

Judas himself seemed to be the type of person who kept score on such matters. He protested, for example, when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with a costly fragrance. He knew the precise value of the ointment (equal to a year’s wages), and he complained, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” (John 12:5). He no doubt would have thought that the grace Jesus showed the thief was inappropriately extravagant as well.

People who have devoted their lives to religion do sometimes seem to resent it when God reaches out and graciously redeems someone whom they deem unworthy of divine favor.

Justice vs. Grace?

What we have to bear in mind is that all people are totally unworthy. No one deservesGod’s favor. We are all guilty sinners who deserve nothing less than damnation. No one who has sinned has any rightful claim on the kindness of God.

God, on the other hand, has every right to show mercy and compassion to whomever He chooses (Exodus 33:19). Furthermore, when He shows mercy it is always in lavish abundance. As He told Moses, He is “the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7).

People who protest that God is unfair or unjust when He shows grace to the least-deserving people simply do not understand the principle of grace. Undiluted justice would mean immediate death for every sinner, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The truth is, nobody really wants what is “fair.” We all desperately need mercy and grace.

At the same time, grace is not unjust, because Christ made full atonement for the sins of those who trust Him—and thereby turned justice in their favor. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV, emphasis added). Because Christ took the penalty of sin on Himself, God can justify believing sinners (even notorious sinners like the thief on the cross) without compromising His own righteousness. “He [is both] just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

What if God shows mercy to a wretched thief in his death throes while condemning someone with a religious track record like Judas? “There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” (Romans 9:14). “He has mercy on whom He desires” (Romans 9:18).

God’s mercy must never be thought of as a reward for good works. Heaven is not a prize for people who deserve it. God “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). Grace is by definition undeserved, but it is not unjust or “unfair.” Don’t try to subject God’s grace to childish notions about fair play and equity. No one has any rightful claim on God’s mercy. He is perfectly free to dispense His grace however He sees fit. As He told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15).

A Lesson about Justice and Grace

In Matthew 20:1–15, Jesus tells a parable that illustrates those principles:

The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, “You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.” And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day long?” They said to him, “Because no one hired us.” He said to them, “You go into the vineyard too.”

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.” When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, “These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.” But he answered and said to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”

Like all parables, this one aims to teach a profound spiritual truth. Jesus is not making a point about fair labor laws, minimum wage, equity in our business dealings, or any other earthly principle. He is describing how grace works in the sphere where God rules.

In the days ahead we’ll explore the parable of the vineyard, discover its true meaning, and consider the implications for our lives today.

(Adapted from Parables)

Is God Ever Unjust? — Grace to You Blog

November 26 The Sabbath and Acts of Mercy

But if you had known what this means, “I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.—Matt. 12:7–8

God has not hesitated to set aside His laws for the sake of mercy toward sinners. Otherwise none of them would be saved or even born, because He would have destroyed them right after they sinned. God’s plan was not to condemn all sinners but to save from its penalty those who believe in His Son. And if a righteous and just God displays that kind of love and mercy, how much more ought His children reflect the same quality of mercy?

Because the Old Testament Sabbath was God’s special day, faithful Jews would have wanted to show mercy on that day. But the leaders, due to their wrong-headed interpretation of the Sabbath and their basic unbelief, actually violated the spirit of the Sabbath. They refused acts of mercy on that day, not because of biblical devotion to the law, but because they lacked compassion.

Since the “Lord of the Sabbath” has come, the obligation of a Sabbath rest is no longer applicable to believers. Under the new covenant, they have the freedom as to whether or not they honor any day above others. Whatever position they take, they must glorify the Lord (Rom. 14:5–6), but not impose their thinking on fellow believers (Gal. 4:9–10; Col. 2:16).

Strict Sabbath observance was never to supplant sincere mercy and compassion by believers. God is merciful and commands us as Christians to be merciful.

ASK YOURSELF

Rather than looking at the Sabbath as a day for not doing certain things, what might be some deliberate actions you could undertake on the Sabbath, whether in hospitality or compassion or service?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 339). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Regenerated to a living hope

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν διʼ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, 4 εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον, τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς 5 τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NA28)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The first chapter…

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11/26/18 Encouragement — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Romans 1-4, Acts 20:1-3

“to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. . . .”

Romans 1:12

I cannot tell you how many times the people of God have encouraged me. Years ago as a young pastor, I was weeping over a tough encounter with a deacon when another deacon saw me, put his arm around me, prayed for me – and encouraged me. Years after that, I went through a broken marriage engagement and prepared to resign from my pastorate – when the men of God loved me in my failure and encouraged me to press on. As a professor, I cannot number times that veteran professors have taught me, inspired me, modeled faith for me – and encouraged me.

Encouragement for believers – it’s a big deal.

Paul knew that truth, and that’s one reason he wanted to get to Rome to meet the believers there: “For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you,  that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Rom. 1:11-12). What strikes me is that not only does Paul want to strengthen and encourage the Romans, but he also recognizes that their walk with God will encourage him. This is Paul—the apostle extraordinaire—who himself found encouragement when others walked with God. He had heard about the Romans’ faith and the spread of the gospel through them, and he wanted to be with them. Just being with them would apparently be encouraging.

ACTION STEPS:  

  • Live your life in such a way that your faith encourages others.
  • Send somebody an encouragement email today.

PRAYER: “Lord, I thank You for all those who have encouraged me through the years. Help me to encourage others.”

 TOMORROW’S READING: Romans 5-8

11/26/18 Encouragement — ChuckLawless.com